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City of Nanaimo surveying residents to inform long-term planning

City starts ‘Reimagine Nanaimo’ process tied to official community plan review

The City of Nanaimo is working on putting together a range of long-term plans and so it has decided to streamline the public engagement process.

The city has now launched its ‘Reimagine Nanaimo’ process to collect information and input to help inform the next official community plan and other civic plans.

A series of questionnaires have been posted at surveying citizens about their priorities and ideas related to environmental protection and climate action; parks, recreation and culture; social equity, inclusivity and accessibility; economic development, business and jobs; active and sustainable transportation; and neighbourhood planning.

Input will be considered in development of the new OCP, an update of the parks, recreation and culture plan, and creation of an economic development plan, climate action plan, active transportation plan and water supply strategic plan.

Lisa Bhopalsingh, the city’s manager of community planning, told councillors at a meeting earlier this week that this sort of public engagement is something different.

“It is not typical of most local government planning processes…” she said. “It’s complicated, it’s creative, it’s highly collaborative not only within departments but externally with other agencies. It also requires a lot of co-ordination.”

Aside from the public engagement, the city has also been working with consultants and utilizing staff resources to compile reports and information tied to the OCP review.

Mayor Leonard Krog said in a press release that the city is excited to be working on a “collective vision” for the future that reflects all voices of the community.

“This type of planning process occurs once in a decade and is a chance for us to start from big ideas then move through a more focused discussion to understand the options and actions that will help us achieve our goals and create a future Nanaimo that we’re all proud to call home,” he said.

The city’s planned public process includes questionnaires, videos, social media engagement, online workshops, a contest and more. There will be “community pop-ups and input stations” set up in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Coun. Ben Geselbracht said in the release that the city wants to involve as many people as possible in the planning process.

“We are inviting organizations, institutions, and individuals to help us lead important conversations and encourage others in the community to join this discussion,” he said. “Every little bit will help, from calling a neighbour to leading a conversation in your network.”

The public engagement process was introduced as ‘City Spark’ at a special council meeting in May, but councillors rejected that branding at that time.

To fill out the questionnaires, visit

RELATED: City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

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